I recall snippets of my first day on the job at every newspaper where I’ve worked: Los Angeles, Spokane, Colorado Springs and here. But the real first day for me was at the Hillsboro Argus in the Portland area. Fresh out of college, I was ready to put my stamp on the trade of journalism — or I hoped I was.
Those memories revisited in recent days as two reporters began their careers at The Triplicate. Megan Hansen recently graduated from Sacramento State. Anthony Skeens graduated from the University of Cincinnati, then taught English in China for a year before landing in Del Norte County.
They are young, energetic and smart. I’m well into middle age, the energy comes and goes, and I’m … experienced. That last attribute, at least, should help as I collaborate with the new arrivals. They’re off to good starts, getting to know their sources, writing quick-hit stories and already reporting on longer articles to come.
Megan covers local government (including the city and county), transportation, business and economic development. Anthony covers environmental issues, parks, the harbor and the prison, and will help track public safety (police, fire, courts).
Another first-day-on-the-job is coming soon, for Nick Grube at the Bend (Ore.) Bulletin. Nick worked at The Triplicate for nearly three and a half years. His last day here was Monday, and he will be missed.
A lot of adjectives apply to Nick: talented, tireless and conscientious being three of them. He threw himself into his reporting, and as he learned more about what made Del Norte tick, he developed a list of story ideas that was hopelessly long, but he worked like hell to knock off as many of them as he could.
For all that, what most impressed me were Nick’s humility and his genuine empathy for people. This came out in what proved to be his crowning achievement at The Triplicate, a three-part series about the raw-milk ordeal of Mari Tardiff that recently won first place for enterprise reporting in the California Newspaper Publishers Association competition. But it also was evident in his everyday handling of sources, be they cooperative, reticent or downright hostile.
The Bulletin is the flagship publication of Western Communications, which also owns The Triplicate. Bend is getting a fine new reporter.
What will you be doing at 7 a.m. Friday? I’ll be staring at the TV as the United States takes on Slovenia in the Americans’ second game of the World Cup. While watching them manage a 1-1 tie with England last Saturday, I ruminated a bit about soccer’s place in this country.
When the English goalie misplayed a soft shot and let the ball dribble into his net, I was taken back to all the children’s soccer games I watched when my two sons were growing up. It was the kind of play that makes you wince, even if it results in a goal for your team.
For all those youth soccer games played in this country, our finest athletes tend to pursue other sports professionally. As for Americans’ ability to spectate, most of us prefer higher-scoring activities. It takes a certain patience that the rest of the world possesses more than us to embrace a game in which the vast majority of the effort proves futile in terms of scoring.
Still, the competitive spirit does kick in every four years or so. Bring on the Slovenians.